Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Work Trip's Blessings

Visiting a dairy farm with brown Swiss milk cows - and this cute sample of their youngstock - made a special treat for me. Photo by Helene Bergren

©Helene Bergren. All Rights Reserved.

What a week. A whirlwind of recording video interviews, shooting harvest, livestock and dairy farm photos, and learning new software.

From Monday through Wednesday, I traveled on a video production trip through bluffy northeast Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The travels gave me the chance to meet some bright young dairy farmers and their families, pet cute calves, visit vibrant small towns, and the bonus experience of web software training in Minneapolis, Minn.

Our travels took my boss-client and I in a large circle from Ames, Iowa, through Minnesota into La Crosse, Wis., up through Eau Claire, Wis., into Minneapolis, and back down to Ames. Phew.

Previous video trips’ schedules have jammed even more into each day. This time around, we were eating supper between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night, pretty much, and found our stopping-point towns and were checked into our Super 8s (Plush, I know.) by 10 p.m. Not bad at all.

Two things I appreciate about this week – in addition to the chance to see the adorable calves and come home to my family.

1. God gave me a way to learn
2. He showed me how much I need to protect and prioritize special time with Him if I plan to have any

Back in the 90s, my love of learning, in part, drew me into this journalistic career. The fun part about my educational addiction is, I do not require some new fantastic skill. Little facts gratify me, too.

Such as . . .

·      Every rural road in Wisconsin is paved. So they cover the cost with a higher gas tax

·      Decorah, Iowa, offers a vibrant downtown, with coffee shops, well-preserved Main-Street style architecture, college-town events, a variety of retail stores and friendly people

·      When you eat at restaurants in Italy, often just being seated tallies up to a $2 cover charge just to take a load off

Intelligent people are always ready to learn.
            Their ears are open for knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15 NLT

I’m not sure I fall into any particularly intelligent category. Pretty easy to see that based on my bullet list, I know.

However, gaining new insight this week showed me again what a variety of people God made, what great expertise people have in fields far different than mine, how big this world is, and when I think about it, how even bigger God is. That’s all good news.

Packing in Time with Him

When I travel, I in no way want to put God up on a shelf. In the midst of the driving and viewing scenery, I enjoy looking out and praising God for His handiwork, and seeking Him in how to handle an interview or conversation.

Of course, while driving, I could ask to listen to a praise music station or crack open my Bible in the car, and I have done that before. But who wants to be showy? I want this time to be a special, private meeting between just God and me.

So, this week showed me – again - how great a blessing God gave me when he opened the door for me to stay home with my children 12 years ago. A big benefit of that time has been my ability to lollygag around with Him in the Word, prayer journaling and the like. 

What a renewed respect I gained for my brothers and sisters in Christ who work full-time, parent, exercise and still protect time with Him.

So, on this outing, I missed a day of taking a bigger chunk of time to be with Him, though, I chatted with Him now and then. And starting a day in prayer — no better way exists to preface my day.

In part, when I think about an eventual return to full-time work, it will be natural for me to just set an alarm or stay up later to delve into prayer and Bible study time. True enough. But I also know, I will want and need to work hard to keep it a priority, with a heart of love for Him, not fear or self-condemnation.

So, I am thankful to God for the heads up of how I may need to re-structure my days as my life stages change. And I am thankful He leads me and blesses me in all the time I spend with him, whether it means a one-hour sit-down with him, or sweet snippets throughout the day. Any time praising Him and bringing Him glory matters eternally, and it makes my life better.

“. . . My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
John 10:10 NLT

©Helene Bergren. All Rights Reserved. 

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